Located in the Mubende district, the Nakayima tree is known as one of the oldest and most sacred trees found in the Mubende district. It is believed to be a historical site with powers believed to heal people from different diseases, as well as wealth and natural calamities. The tree is supported by buttress roots on a hill about four kilometers from Mubende town.
The tree is also believed to be a cultural heritage site and due to its strategic location on the hill, it can be well seen by people in the surrounding areas as well as Mubende town and beyond. Nakayima is a shrine and possesses the spirit of a Nakayima that is believed to have been the wife of the first Muchwezi king Ndahura.
The tree is believed to be over 400 years old and stands as high as over 45 meters high. Ndahura is believed to have disappeared mysteriously instead of dying a natural death while Nakayima died around 1907. People from all over the country pay a visit to the Nakayima tree for different reasons for example protection from natural disasters, wealth, fertility, and blessings among others.
Different things are brought to the site as you visit this sacred tree like coins to put into the basket for offerings, drinks like the locally brewed beer known as tonto, and animals to sacrifice like goats, sheep, cows, and chickens. Ancient beliefs among the Africans are still recognized at the Nakayima tree despite the rising of Christianity and are still respected by the Baganda.
It is also believed that Nakayima was also a mediator between people and their king Ndahura of the Bachwezi dynasty at that time through which the spirits communicated. It is believed that in the year 1988, there was a religious conflict between Buganda and Bunyoro which forced Nakayima to flee the area and returned a year later and found the huts destroyed as well as the graves of the predecessors.
Between each of these strong buttress roots, there are different rooms as referred to by believers whereby each of the rooms is assigned a different spirit like Nalongo, Ndahura, Kirunda, Jaja Musoke, and Jaja Mukasa. The area where the Nakayima tree stands are managed by a so-called with most of his time smokes either marijuana or tobacco in a pipe with a belief that he can be communicating with the spirits of the area.
Site guides are also available to take you around as they explain and give you more information about the history of this old tree in the Mubende district. Most tourists on their trip either to or from Kibale forest national park, Semliki national park, Amabere caves, crater lakes, Rwenzori mountains national park, and Queen Elizabeth national park most of the times make a stop over here to know more about the culture of Buganda mainly.
As one plans their holiday to Uganda, a visit to this sacred tree should not miss on your bucket list.
Nakayima tree is located in the Mubende district and is three hour drive from Uganda’s capital city Kampala. Locals and tourists from all over the world can visit while on their trip to the Pearl of Africa.